On his recently released track “Facts,” Kanye West declared that in “2020 I'ma run the whole election, yah.” As the dedicated journalists we are, NBN takes Yeezy’s words pretty seriously. While we anxiously await his list of proposals (because we know you’re already tired of the 2016 cycle), we came up with a hypothetical compilation of “polic’ye” based on tweets, lyrics and interviews from America’s rap god.
School to prison pipeline
The release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy resulted in some of Kanye’s best work, including his angry reflections on the United States in the song “Power.” Like the title suggests, the track critiques existing power structures and addresses the cycles of oppression they create – for example, the school-to-prison pipeline. “The system broken, the school is closed, the prison’s open,” West raps, and he’s not wrong. According to PBS, 68 percent of males currently incarcerated do not have a high school diploma, something that disproportionately affects students of color who are two times more likely to not finish high school. While this year’s candidates have begun to address America’s mass incarceration problem, perhaps a West presidency would push the conversation even further.
Essentially, it’s all about The Life of Pablo: empowering young artists to continue to create. As the U.S. becomes increasingly focused on STEM education, funding for arts and humanities programs is being slashed nationwide. To ‘Ye, this is a real problem, especially because corporate America still seems to enjoy consuming art, just not paying for it.
All you dudes in San Fran play rap music in your homes but never help the real artists…— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 15, 2016
Come 2020, maybe we’ll see the art community support a President West. After all, fed up with their lack of state funding, a Kanye candidacy might be just what the creative crowd is looking for.
One area of potential criticism for Yeezy is his responses to sexual assault. After proclaiming that accused serial rapist Bill Cosby may be innocent, West received serious backlash from fans and other celebrities who found his remarks unsettling.
BILL COSBY INNOCENT !!!!!!!!!!— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 9, 2016
A particularly pressing issue on college campuses, Kanye may need to change his tune if he wants to win over students. According to the Association of American Universities, reporting rates for sexual assault are quite low, ranging between five percent and 28 percent. His tweet in support for Bill Cosby, who has been accused of sexual assault by over 50 women, may raise questions among young voters and is something he may need to address if he really wants the POTUS title.
Historically, the relationship between the White House and the media has been complicated. While the administration wants to use the press corps as a tool to promote its platform, journalists feel they are left to regurgitate stale releases instead of addressing more serious issues. With a Kanye presidency, however, the press would garner soundbites more candid than ever before. As you can see in this classic clip from 2005, ‘Ye isn’t afraid to say what’s really on his mind, even if that means calling out a sitting president on live television. Medill on the Hill 2020 should be interesting, to say the least.
With NU’s proximity to Chicago, all of us have witnessed the city’s homelessness problem at one point or another, an issue not unique to Illinois. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, “in January 2015, 564,708 people were homeless on a given night” nationwide. Perhaps influenced by his childhood growing up in Chicago, West seems to have taken a particular interest in decreasing America’s homeless population.
Utah has eliminated homelessness by 91%— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) March 15, 2016
Referencing Utah’s success in addressing their state’s problem with homelessness, maybe Yeezus would enact similar strategies nationwide. Not only has Utah matched the chronically homeless with housing and provided counseling for drug use and mental illness, but they have also saved an estimated $8,000 per homeless person in yearly expenses by doing so.
Environment and free speech
For all of you concerned about pollution and freedom of expression (an interesting combination), Yeezy’s got your back.
We will breathe clean air and exercise the first amendment.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) March 22, 2016
Although he doesn’t necessarily clarify how he will guarantee these rights, he seems to imply that they should and would be guaranteed. Perhaps we’ll see ‘Ye add on to President Obama’s climate change agreement and address fossil fuel reduction. As a California resident, he’s certainly seen his fair share of smog. And with West, free speech is basically a given.
People ask why I speak in a public forum... Well my voice is my power. Freedom of speech. Freedom of opinion. Freedom of dreams.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 24, 2016
Listen to the kids, bruh.
Like the trendsetter he is, Yeezus would take the presidential wardrobe to a whole new level. Unlike our current First Family, who typically don professional yet fashionable looks, West seems to favor street style, which he showcased in his Yeezy Season 3 fashion show this February. With models sporting baggy sweaters, hoodies and West’s signature Adidas shoes and boots, it’s safe to say that Yeezy’s election would be a style revolution. Oh, and suit jackets might be abolished.
I don’t personally like suit jackets anymore.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) March 9, 2016